For the past few weeks, not a day has gone by without a new post or article criticizing the way Facebook is handling user’s privacy. The New York Times published an info-graphic that can help explain why Facebook’s privacy evolution might be an issue with their users. I am almost reluctant to write a post even containing the word Facebook, but I guess it is too late for that…
Oh Facebook, what have you done to yourself? We use to trust you with everything personal to us. We use to tell you things we wouldn’t dare tell anyone else. Now you are telling everyone all of our personal information. We ask why and the answer you give us is if we “aren’t comfortable sharing, don’t.”? Come on, you were our friend, but now I know what is meant by the saying, ‘secrets don’t make friends’. Maybe it is time we all make a new friend, one that we can trust.
Sure, we can go on and on about why this is bad for Facebook and their users, but what does this mean for social media as a whole? It looks like months of sitting in the social media throne; Facebook is going have to start defending that position. For me, all this means is that Facebook is perhaps more vulnerable now than ever. Danny Sullivan wrote a very informational post focused on users deactivating their Facebook accounts. If this is true, then won’t these ex-Facebook users be looking somewhere else to go?
Now I am not saying all 400 million users are jumping the Facebook ship. Some may not care and will remain loyal to the brand. While others have had enough with the uncertainty aren’t staying around any longer and even have a set day to quit.
What I am saying is that this opens up an opportunity for other social media platforms to swoop in. One that has caught the attention of many is Diaspora, the anti-Facebook. Diaspora has coined itself the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network. Maybe this isn’t the ideal alternative people will be looking for, but it’s a start. I mean, wasn’t Facebook once an alternative to Myspace?
The negative attention swarming Facebook isn’t going to go away. And based on what history we know of Facebook, it may just get worse. Still, there is a positive side to all of this. For Facebook? No not at all, but instead for social media as a whole. Facebook pushed the limits and now it is known what happens when you go too far. Social media sites will be able to learn from Facebook’s mistakes and create new, better protected social environments.
We’re sorry Facebook, but you did this to yourself. We just can’t “like” you as much as we once did!